After a long winter, it’s time to get your garden ready for the season ahead. We’ve put together a list of spring gardening tips to help you make the most of your landscape.
As the weather warms up, plants need consistent watering. Keeping close to water is key, so plan to have several cups on hand at all times.
Spring cleaning is a great way to prepare your garden for the growing season. It’s also an excellent opportunity to remove debris, such as leaves and weeds, that have grown over the winter.
Besides preventing disease, root rot, and insects, removing dead foliage helps your plants get the light they need to grow. It’s also a great way to create a hospitable environment for insect pollinators.
It’s also a good time to check for signs of pest activity. Snails and slugs eat plant leaves, while aphids can suck sap from plants, which can stunt or damage them.
In addition, many beneficial insects and pollinators hide in the organic litter left over from fall plantings. By raking up the litter now, you risk disturbing these important insects before they can emerge in the spring.
To help these insects, use fallen leaves as a mulch in flower beds and vegetable gardens. This will provide habitat for beneficial insects and a source of free, organic fertilizer for plants.
Prepare the Soil
In spring, your garden soil will need to be properly prepared before you can plant. If it’s been heavily compacted from the winter, you may need to till or turn it to loosen it up and then add a layer of well-composted mulch.
Compost is an essential part of soil preparation because it improves the structure of the soil and provides valuable nutrients to plants. It also serves as a friendly habitat for beneficial insects and microorganisms.
Adding compost to your garden soil can take several seasons of amendments, but it is an investment in the health and productivity of your garden. If you don’t have your own compost, look for a local source such as a garden center, municipality or a farmer.
Another important step in preparing your garden soil is to remove weeds. This is one of the best things you can do for your garden. Weeds need to be removed as soon as possible because they can root and spread into your garden if left unchecked.
Prepare the Plants
Spring gardening is a great time to rejuvenate your plants. It’s a good idea to remove dead or dying branches from shrubs and trees and to cut back perennials before new growth emerges.
It’s also a good time to transplant divisions. Whether you’re planting a new garden bed or moving a plant, divisions are an easy way to move around your plot.
This is also a great time to clear winter weeds from your garden, such as hairy bittercress, chickweed, and deadnettle. Weeds are easier to pull in moist, spring soil.
You can also use this as a chance to hunt down and destroy hibernating pests, such as slugs, snails and aphid colonies. Doing this now can save you a lot of trouble in the summer.
Spring is an excellent time to start hardy cool-season vegetables, such as potatoes, artichokes and peas. These germinate best in cool soil and should be ready for harvest by early summer.
Prepare the Area
After the snow has melted, it’s time to prep your area for spring gardening. Doing a few essential chores now will make for an easier and more enjoyable garden season.
One of the first things to do is give your landscape a good cleaning. Sweep up leaves, twigs and other detritus from beds and weeding areas to keep the yard looking fresh and inviting for spring planting.
Next, inspect garden structures like trellises, benches and fences to see if any need repair or replacement. Check hoses to ensure they are still working, and sanitize garden tools to be ready for use when the weather warms up.
Another key task is pruning perennials and varieties of shrubs that need to be cut back for the season ahead. Early spring is a great time to trim clematis in group 2 and group 3, buddleja, wisteria, and winter jasmine. It’s also a good time to prune crepe myrtle and other late-winter to early-spring flowering shrubs.